Don’t think our healthcare system is broken? Well read this story.

Kids from my hometown are selling $20 glasses of lemonade to help curb medical expenses for their classmate that had to get a liver transplant;

A first-grade Parkston class raised $6,570 at a lemonade stand for a classmate who received a liver transplant earlier this week.

He’s scheduled to be in the hospital for a couple months and the entire community came out to support the boy suffering from an unknown condition.

The going rate for a cup of lemonade was around $20 in Parkston Saturday, as first graders traded donations for drinks to benefit their classmate Landon Bueber.

The seven-year-old boy’s liver started failing around Labor Day weekend and doctors can’t seem to figure out why.

I think it is commendable what these kids are doing, but how pathetic is it that 7-year old kids have to open a lemonade stand to help a family pay for a transplant? If we would have implemented the single-payer system, this family would not have to worry about losing everything because their son suddenly has liver failure. I still shutter when I think about the amount of money our healthcare industry takes in – while 7-year old kids are selling lemonade in a gravel parking lot.

22 comments ↓

#1 l3wis on 09.22.12 at 11:29 pm

The sad part is that this kind of ‘fundraising’ goes on all across our country. I think ‘giving’ to those in need is a good thing, but the ‘overcharging’ by the healthcare providers and insurers needs to end. I often wonder how people like the CEO of Sanford, Kelby, feel when they see stories like this? Are they that cold?

#2 Lex on 09.23.12 at 1:38 am

I just attended a kick off meeting for Augie’s IHI Open School Chapter where we got a pre-release screening of a movie coming out called “Escape Fire”. (IHI is an organization that’s goal is to educate healthcare students of all disciplines on what needs to change in the way that we think about the healthcare system.) This movie is being released October 5th to select theaters and iTunes, and it is amazing. If you get a chance to watch it you should. It’s not that it has all the answers, but it does bring up a lot of questions and hopefully it will get people talking about what needs to change. It is so sad to see how many people can not afford to be healthy, and it is even more sad to see the lack of compassion from the health care providers. No child should be selling lemonade to pay for a liver transplant, and no senior should have to pick between medications and food. I’m pretty sure that it is time for a major review and some serious reform.

#3 caheidelberger on 09.23.12 at 9:05 am

Yay. That $6570 will pay for… what, three days of his two months in the hospital? Single-payer is a heck of a lot more efficient way to guarantee that everyone gets the care they need.

#4 Muqhtar on 09.23.12 at 9:17 am

My first question is – does this kid HAVE or NOT HAVE health insurance? Typically this would be covered under most health insurance plans.

#5 l3wis on 09.23.12 at 1:07 pm

I would assume he does, but like most plans, they won’t cover everything. Even if the family is on the hook for a deductible and 5-10% out of pocket, when you are talking about a transplant and continuing care, that could be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

#6 scott on 09.23.12 at 1:47 pm

While the media in town continues to kiss Sanford’s ass, no one has stopped to ask the question, “if they have millions of dollars to put their name on sports facilities across the country, are they charging too much?”

#7 Lex on 09.23.12 at 1:58 pm

Even if his hospital stay is covered by insurance and there is a low deductible and out of pocket, the medications used when a patient undergoes a transplant are incredibly expensive. Most of them do not fall into a normal tier on a prescription drug plan either. I worked with a gal who had a kidney transplant and one of her medications cost around $2500 per month. It’s more than just the hospital that needs to have reform.

It’s easy to point fingers at Sanford, but I have to put mine down in this situation. My daughter had to be hospitalized right after she was born for an infection, and the bill was over $75,000. We had insurance and paid our $500 deductible and $1500 max out of pocket, but we still had about $2000 of uncovered charges that we could not afford. I called and Sanford decided to eat the balance and let us off the hook. I’m very grateful for the act of kindness. I realize that they made a shit ton of money regardless, but it was a gernerous act and it really helped our family.

#8 Lex on 09.23.12 at 2:01 pm

And @Scott, I agree the cost is excessive, but it’s not just Sanford with the high prices. It’s a nation wide problem, and every hospital in the area is at fault.

#9 John on 09.23.12 at 6:55 pm

We don’t have a healthcare system. We have a sick care system and it often doesn’t work worth a damn-except for increasing corporate profits.

First, consider results from the sickcare system. Every week in the US medical mistakes kill enough people to fill 4 jumbo jets. Every week in the US there are 40 surgeries on the wrong organ. – according to a WSJ article by Dr. Mackay from Johns Hopkins.

Second, consider that our garbage in, in the food system, results in garbage out and allegedly massive cancer causing, later. – according to recently peer-reviewed and published study on the lifetime effect of rats eating GM-corn that was Roundup resistant.

#10 l3wis on 09.23.12 at 7:40 pm

Monsanto – What a great company :(

#11 Joan on 09.23.12 at 7:48 pm

I think the reason there are so many complaints about Sanford is all the unnecessary facilities that they are building around town, along with having their name on everything. I have another complaint about them too and that is why are they going around the world opening clinics? Lex, I would say the fact that they wrote off a balance for you was a lucky break, because I have had a lot of people tell me they have had opposite luck with Sanford. I also know a woman that owed Sioux Valley $5.00 that she wasn’t aware was still owed on a small bill that she had with them, until all of a sudden she got a statement and a nasty note telling her that being it was so outrageously past due they would turn that $5.00 bill over to collections if it wasn’t paid by a certain date. She got a check ready and then called the billing office and asked why they would turn a small $5.00 bill over to collections and was told that is the way they do things.

#12 Joan on 09.23.12 at 7:49 pm

I agree with Cory about the health care system in the US.

#13 Lamb Chislic on 09.23.12 at 8:38 pm

Here’s a Sanford story you won’t see in any Sioux Falls media: http://www.prairiebizmag.com/event/article/id/12839/.

Note in the last paragraph: ANNUAL REVENUE TOPS $3 BILLION! ‘Nuf said.

#14 l3wis on 09.23.12 at 8:39 pm

Joan – they chased me down for a remaining $115 dollars that they turned over to collections after I had already been making payments on the bill for 6 months. Apparently it wasn’t fast enough for them.

#15 caheidelberger on 09.23.12 at 9:48 pm

Lucky you, Lex. We had a high-deductible policy, all we could afford on my Montrose teacher salary in 2006. When my newborn daughter went straight from the Madison delivery room to Sanford’s NICU for a three-night stay, the Madison hospital let us craft a payment plan to pay our bill over a very generous period. Sanford’s collection agency gave us a “pay your balance in four months or else.”

Meanwhile, our private insurer was busy screwing up the bills.

Single-payer, just like Medicare, cuts out a lot of overhead. And the Canadians and French still manage to get decent stadiums… from something other than my inflated hospital bill.

#16 l3wis on 09.23.12 at 9:57 pm

A very broken system. When the lady in the story said this, “Knowing that could happen to her just makes me feel bad for them,” Nubell said. – As she is crying.

Think about that. We must fear the people that are providing us healthcare? That is scary and silly all in one.

#17 Poly43 on 09.24.12 at 7:38 am

I have a son who was diagnosed with cancer six years ago. Hundreds of thousands of dollars later he has been declared cancer free. Insurance was good but none cover everything.This has left him with bills too hard to keep up with. Collection agencies make life for him and his wife a living hell. Being declared cancer free does not mean continuing care is not needed. Followups each year run into tens of thousands of dollars.
The hell my son endured fighting cancer has not ended with being declared cancer free. It continues…thanks to T Dennys bill collectors.

#18 Testor15 on 09.24.12 at 9:30 am

Thanks to the wasteful spending on buildings with his name attached to remind us everyday in Minnesota, Iowa, South and North Dakota, T Denny will be forever a despised man. Everytime we go to our mailboxes or answer a collectors phone call we are reminded of his greed. The damage he has done to the credit card world and then his connection to the “greed” Christian Business based Kelby K has promoted to our communities will be haunting us forever.

The only way to end this greed enhanced by his connection to Sanford is through a health care system based on service paid for by a single payer. I am all for quality people being paid properly but when you examine the books on the management of these organizations you will find an amazing amount of theft from the top skimming off the cream.

#19 scott on 09.24.12 at 10:34 am

I wonder how those kids playing soccer on that dirt field in Africa pay for their Sanford health care?

#20 Pathloss on 09.24.12 at 6:35 pm

The common man gets better healthcare without insurance. They must treat you. Then take bankruptcy. Your credit is better coming out of bankruptcy if you take it for medical. If you have insurance, much is not covered & copays are high. With insurance, premiums rise 8 percent every 3 months until you’re priced out. Its not insurance, it’s a flagrant way that requires you pay protection money to syndicates. The average citizen opts out because they’d rather put food on the table. It’s like buying a $300 service agreement on a $200 TV.

#21 Lex on 09.30.12 at 1:08 am

When we had outstanding medical bills with Sanford yes they did get “forgiven”. However, my husband and I had to first swallow our pride and admitt defeat, second fill out a rediculous amount of financial worksheets, submitt our tax return and paystubs, and then finally write a letter stating why we sucked at paying our bills…a letter of hardship I think it’s called. So…yeah it wasn’t just a piece of cake, but it helped us out a ton. My experience with Sanford has been pretty good I guess. I realize that is a rare event, and I will not argue that they are free from sin. But…I will argue that they are not the only healthcare facility emptying pockets.

#22 l3wis on 10.02.12 at 10:31 pm

Lex, you point out why the system is so fucked.

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